POETRY requires a mature audience ENTER only if you are 18+
I used to rent an apartment
In a house which abutted some train tracks,
A commuter line that hurried suburbanites downtown
non-stop and back.
You could watch them in the windows as they passed
Paging through the Wall Street Journal intently as if it
were the secret language of dreams.
Perhaps they could not see out as we could see in.
It was a poor section of the city then.
In one yard down the block, roosters still roved
Scratching the ground, calling in the day;
Across the tracks, a family kept a horse in their garage;
Local gang kids would war periodically over fluid turf
But the train viaduct formed a fixed boundary
And thus it was adorned with gang symbols and dog urine,
Oracular signs that the informed nose could sniff out.
I imagined being a hobo then
And that the train passed to remind me of the wide fields
The mesas and the nameless small towns
That would rescue me from this civilization.
Having a young son to raise I was free to imagine
without having to act.
We went through three sets of landlords in the time
we lived there
Three presidents and many loaves of cornbread.
One night a young boy died on the tracks
And rumor said that his head was severed
by a passing train
But I heard nothing more about it.
There were many stories in that neighborhood
And few were exactly true but they resonated with
The night before I moved I stood in the backyard
Watching the trains pass on schedule
The sweet clover in bloom, the August cicadas
I waved but no one waved back from the windows.
Whether it was good-bye or hello I was uncertain.
Good days give way to good dreams;
I gave up that hoboing before I began.
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